News, Meditation and Wellbeing

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News chat

As I mentioned, I’ve decided to watch less news and just read the BBC news once or twice a day. To be honest, this is still probably too much. It is vital to be informed but there is only so much to can endure before you realise that…

I know enough
I’m doing enough and I’m playing my part to the best of my ability…

Everyone is expected to be well informed but all the news is about one thing. To some extent, it is understandable but you can watch too much and become more and more scared. Also, it does help to occupy yourself to the best of your ability to take your mind off all the bad, negative stuff and not waste time. Well, we can waste a bit of time, but not too much. Haha.

The Hippy Bit…

I belong to a mindfulness group. Not sure if it is my thing but it is interesting and we put the world to rights after the mindfulness bit, over a cuppa and biscuits.

Now we have a Whatsapp group and a few things have been suggested to do now we can’t meet up. Looking and watching nature, is one thing. Is it me, or have all the birds come out? We’ve got a sparrow who keeps tapping manically on the window (eek). Also, under my summerhouse, there has been a tiny chaffinch fluttering about making noise. They seem more prevalent but this could be because we’ve time to notice.

Another thing mentioned has been a meditation app. called Virtual Hope Box. The Mindfulness leader asked us to try the Beach meditation where you imagine a transcendental beach scene. Guess who didn’t want to wake up? This is quite uplifting and relaxing, so worthwhile. I also do a controlled breathing exercise. Hope this may be good for the lungs! The app is free which is another added bonus.

During this worrying time, it is useful to find ways of disciplining yourself and focus naturally. Meditation is said to help you become happier, relaxed, focused, sleep, reduce pain, lower blood pressure and connect to others. If you focus on sounds whilst meditating, it helps to relax and stop your mind over thinking which is often, in these scary times. I like to try to meditate whilst moving. The endorphins help reduce stress levels in the brain, reducing worry and helps explore more positive feelings. This seems to work because if I’m feeling miserable it is usually because I haven’t been moving enough!

For me it is a new skill and has deemed to be a profound, valuable and calming effect. It clears my mind and encourages feelings of peace and a sense of awareness that forms an enriching experience.

Chat…

Life has certainly become quieter and slower. I don’t know about you, but my gratitude for the natural world has gone through the roof. Always been a city girl but this whole time has made me more present in nature. From what I’m hearing, I’m not the only one either. Little shopping, no people and rediscovering how to stretch food and enjoy countryside walks. So there are positives so long as you don’t catch the disease. Each day, I wake up I’m thankful I’m not ill. It feels like a permanent Sunday, doesn’t it? I’m surprised how I’ve just got on with it without becoming bored or lonely. Maybe in a few weeks…

If you are struggling at the moment, I can suggest trying meditation. There is an abundance of free resources online which are certainly worth exploring.

Things to do which may help…

Exercise.. stroll/walk/run/workout/Garden
Meditate
Cook/Sew
Read
Write or do something creative
Start a project (decluttering, organising, decorate* or make something)
*A doctor on television suggested that we don’t do any DIY because the NHS does not what people coming in with injuries.
Phone someone and chat

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Television, Walks and Favourite Podcasts

I’ve decided to stop watching the daily updates and news for a few days as it just creates anxiety. Unfortunately, it is all bad news so I will be reading my news on the BBC page which is comprehensive and useful.


Television (Netflix)
We’ve been watching Jack Whitehall Travels with my Father, whilst drinking beer in the evening and this has been a roaring success. Nothing like having comedy on to cheer you up. Also, it is about the countries they visit, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and fascinating as a travel vlog. Father and son go off together for a ‘gap year’ which Jack didn’t finish in 2009. His father, Michael Whitehall, is an unadventurous well dress gentleman whose obvious distaste of most things Jack related, is hilarious. They journey across South East Asia to partake in some rather curious explorations, mishaps and escapades, and comically demonstrates two diverse perspectives. However, ultimately they find it is a good way to strengthen their father and son bond and proves a successful adventure.



Walks Tuesday
We’ve continued with our country walks. The first one with David (husband), included a trip to the other end of the village where there is a private school and The Old Church. This is set in copious amounts of farmland, orchards and woodland. The sun was shining and we really appreciated being outside. Whenn we arrived at The Old Church we met and chatted with another couple (4 metres plus away) who was discovering all the local walks during this (lockdown) time, having moved to the area of Kent 11 years ago! They are certainly making up for it now. Their walks were derived from some printed maps given to them when they moved in.

Yesterday – Wednesday
I decided to go for a solitary stroll across the local recreation ground and into the woods. I really enjoyed walking for about 50 minutes which got me out of the house. Don’t get me wrong, I have been decluttering, organising and cleaning my home but I’m afraid I will always find ways to escape the four walls into the outside world.
Whilst walking I listened to the Minimalists podcast which is one of those easy to listen to chatty podcasts which is often thought-provoking. To be honest, these days I listen to BBC podcasts but forgot to download for my walk, so I just tried this one which had been downloaded but not listened to…

The Minimalists 197 Successful People

A listener asks ‘How do I find what I’m passionate about and when should I give the passion up?
The basic premise is not what are you are passionate about but what you are enthusiastic about? Everyone knows what they are enthusiastic about. Which friend am I passionate about or which friend am I enthusiastic about? This stops the excitement perspective which doesn’t necessarily translate into a long-term interest. You just seem to know what you are enthusiastic about.

30 Day Challenge
Answer 3 questions for 30 days.
What made me feel enthusiastic today?
What drained me of energy today?
What did I learn about myself today?

Don’t give up until 30 days. You will feel like you’ve got all the juice out of the lemon before 30 days and will see a pattern after the 28th day. Not before.

Favourite Podcasts

5 Live Science Podcast (like the Aussie Dr Karl)

Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Fortunately… with Fi and Jane

The Infinite Monkey Cage

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

The Minimalists


When I got home, I set about making a huge bolognaise sauce full of beef, tomatoes, stock, herbs and masses of vegetables. I plan to make it last several days, so I even added grated carrots. Probably on the second day, I will add chili and beans to turn it into a chili con carnie.

Thursday
I just listened to music and did a home workout. All good fun. I’m enjoying the soulful tunes of Lianne La Havas and Marc O’ Reilly on Spotify, at the moment. During the afternoon we popped to a nearby brewery and bought lots, and I mean lots, of ale for both of us. After that excitement, I read my book (a review will be forthcoming) The Year of Living Danishly and then cooked the dinner (Chili Con Carni).

During the evening we had a lively chat with family which is always fun. I’m glad to know they are well and busy working from home. I’ve recently heard of someone with the virus and am very concerned for her. Hopefully, she will make a quick recovery.

Anyway, I will sign off here. Let me know how you are passing the time?

 

Workouts, park woodland walking, chatting, clapping, a visit to The Lockdown Inn and thoughts…

As the days flow by, I do seem to be slightly less apprehensive and more resigned to the situation. For some reason, that I can’t fathom, I became calmer once the UK lockdown was announced. This is probably because everything has become rigid but more organised.


There is a queuing system at our local Tesco’s now, only allowing 40 people in the store at once. The online and click and collect is now more or less reserved for the vulnerable folks, which is fair enough and the mass hysterical panic buying has abated somewhat. At least loo rolls seem to be filtering back into some of the stores. Hooray for that!


Thursday –

The day was spent doing exercise! Thought I’d try The Body Coach’s workout at 9 am. It is meant for school children but what the hell. Anyway, it is really good and consists of arduous exercises (running, lunges, planks, box kick, Russian twists, squats, crunches, push-ups, etc). Then I tried a yoga video (Beginners Yoga with Adrian) which I am rubbish at but was sort of relaxing. Lots of breathing, downward dogs, twisting, warrior posing and more breathing. All of the above is on YouTube and can be transferred to your television by pressing the square Wi-Fi type sign, in the right-hand corner.


During the afternoon, I drove a couple of minutes to our local park for a walk. Don’t know about you, but I can’t stand being indoors all the time. The park is a beautiful space but, on this occasion, too busy for my liking. Kept dodging people by walking on the grass. Trying to keep more than 2 metres away from everyone! What a weird situation we are all in. Still lovely to get out and people watch. I didn’t have Oscar with me, so pondered whether park visitors may think I was strange, bonkers or stupid wandering about on my own. They didn’t. Everyone else seemed to be doing the same.


During the evening I cooked a salmon dish with mushrooms, peppers, onions, red wine, herbs, mustard seeds, fennel and a little cream cheese. We had boiled potatoes with the fish. After this, I had a video chat on WhatsApp with my daughter. It is lovely to catch up. Miss seeing family and friends but we will get through this. We temporarily ended the call to go outside and clap for the wonderful work the NHS, etc. are doing. This was an incredibly successful event. You could hear clapping, cheering and pot banging from miles around. Fantastic and quite emotional! At least it shows we care. Also, the Government has had over 600,000 applications for people wanting to assist the NHS as voluntary Responders, which includes picking and delivering prescriptions, phoning isolated folk and taking people for medical assistance, etc. Feeling proud of the UK at present. Shows how, as a nation, we can pull together.


Friday

Again, the sun was shining so David and I decided to venture out for a long walk in our local woods. We have a footpath walkers’ map and have become accustomed to using it again. We used to go for long walks with our children and they enjoyed marking the map to demonstrate where we had been. Anyway, the light on the trees was incredible and it was uplifting as we strolled about the orchards, fields and woodland. We really enjoyed it. One thing that has come from this experience is that I am discovering the outdoors again and small independent shops. Maybe, this will change how people live their lives.


When we arrived home, we had a sandwich and then got the deckchairs out and sat in the sun. It was a bit chilly (it is only March after all) but really enjoyed the warmth on my face and even got a little burnt. Before I knew it, my husband woke me up with a toasted, buttered hot cross bun and cup of tea which was devoured very quickly.


I had a phone chat with a friend who said, when I told her about feeling anxious, that it is about changing your mindset and getting into a routine. (She had been laid up for 6 weeks after an operation.) However, being laid up, is not the same at all. Everyone is scared and frightened. Although, the ‘jolly hockey sticks, stiff British upper lip’ attitude is probably correct. One of her friends said she felt she was on holiday in her own home. Must say this is a thought-provoking perspective on the worldwide situation.


I am trying to keep my worries under control by keeping busy and not watching/reading the news more than necessary. Must say, incidentally, how impressed I am with how the British government has dealt with this. It may not be perfect, but considering it is a new situation, they are, like everyone, doing their best to help and inform the British public.


Saturday – A visit to The Lockdown Inn

Now although I have endured and enjoyed plenty of exercise there is no denying, I like a drink or two. So, I spent much of the morning working out to a The Body Coach’s 30-minute HIIT session (exhausting), read in the afternoon and then had a boozy call with the young family folk. We chatted (via Zoom) about our week, where we’d been for exercise, beer, restaurant takeaway meals, and of course, the current situation. Really revelled in it all.


Thoughts

So, I’m constantly washing my hands, cleaning door handles and even food packaging. Who would have thought it? My husband is, when he sees me with a bucket and cleaning materials, actually saying sentences like ‘What are you cleaning now?’ I am trying to keep busy, sorting, decluttering, cleaning, listening to podcasts, music, walking, writing and reading, all of which I enjoy. I’ve even unpacked my case this week as we were supposed to be on a holiday.


Overall, the struggle to adapt is real but I’m pleased to come through another week without catching it.


Thanks for reading my rambling post. Speak soon. Take care and stay safe.  Andrea x

The Home Workout

Sunday…

Today I decided to do a home workout. Luckily, we’ve some dumbbells and kettlebells, a mat and some knowledge from years of going to a local gym. However, you don’t need equipment or knowledge. There are plenty of inspiring experts around on the internet especially YouTube. Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) is doing a school fitness session every morning Mon – Friday, at 9 am. He has loads of videos on Youtube too.
I’ve been doing the home workouts for a few weeks and quite enjoy the exercise. What better way to strengthen your immune system from the comfort of your own home. Also, it is a healthy pursuit which passes the time because it is boring when you can’t go to the pub. A home workout will, with some effort, improve strength, performance, and endurance.
Plus, although I do actually like going to the gym there are some advantages. You don’t have to worry about a wardrobe malfunction, you won’t have to endure an I.T. degree to work out the equipment, and if you fall asleep on the yoga mat (through boredom) no one will know!

“I walked into, and knocked over, a Christmas tree at a yoga studio… admittedly it was a “yoga” styled tree (i.e. some twigs with lights on them). I couldn’t put it back together. I ruined the zen of the studio and my ego.” – Diane

If you are just beginning, start slowly as you don’t want an injury now! You can use other things for weights such as a tin of beans (if you can get them) or a filled up a bottle of milk. Use the milk and fill it with water, of course. Don’t slosh water over your face whilst exercising (or your hands, which you’ve washed eight times before breakfast).
To get my sleepy limbs going, the warm up usually involves some protracted movement and moaning but when I’m in the swing of it, I quite enjoy the exercise, believe it or not. Also, it helps me build a routine into the day.
Make sure you do a good warm-up to get you firing on all cylinders. Some days are better than others. This morning I felt quite decrepit but kept persevering. Yes, you guessed it, I had a few glasses of wine last night.
My routine involves:
Warm-up
Kettlebell exercises
Stair exercises
General exercises (without weights)
Dumbell exercises
Gentle Yoga type stuff
Stretch
Relax Mindfully

 

 

 

 

 

Walking Ideas (whilst we can)

I thought I’d better start with this topic because it is important. Especially at the moment. Disclaimer: I’m not a qualified health professional, so these are my ideas.

I’m focusing on coping mechanisms over the next few weeks which I hope will be helpful. Rather than wallowing in thoughts, as prone to do, it is better to be proactive.

A family member suggested I write again, so here goes. The best way to prepare is a plan so I’ve made a list of stuff (see yesterday’s list) but may also be inspired by some online education, virtual tours with an imposed virtual social life. This is going to be a tough period but we have to make the best of it.

As I’m trying not to struggle mentally, I feel it is vital to plan, in some gentle way, what you can do in the coming weeks. Even if you aren’t into the natural environment, now is the time to make changes to your routine and try ways of getting some fresh air and find your ideal space and interests. It’s easy to sit around and become bored so google some local green spaces or just check out some old maps you’ve probably got lying around. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been struggling too!!

As we can still go out, in some capacity, we should. Obviously, avoid busy places. Although, they don’t exist anymore. I’ve been going to the local park, woodland walks and wandering around the village.

The local park has a beautiful tranquil lake with plenty of space, away from others. It’s a few minutes’ drive so I usually take Oscar, a friend’s dog, as it has elegant wild grassy slopes, flowers, trees, fields, streams and is not too muddy. A great place to be mindful with magnificent views across the lake.

However, yesterday, I just went for a solitary walk through my local woods. This is great because it is a 5-minute walk from my home. Nothing like a woodland walk to calm your worries. I didn’t go with my friend’s dog so just walked along the top path near housing. It was quite special hearing the birds, seeing the blossom, walking through copious amounts of mud, taking photographs and not seeing anyone. It felt good for the soul and safe. I was going to go back along the road but realised the school would be finishing so turned around and ventured back the  way I had come. I tend to walk for about an hour, quite briskly to get the old heartbeat up. I take my phone, but only because I nearly got lost in our local woods a few years ago. Apart from emergencies, I tend to ignore it and I’d rather not have it on me.

Of course, not everyone has a park or woods near them. I would suggest a speedy walk along the pavements. Try to go when it is quiet (early morning/evening). I’ve had people walk round me into the road so as not to walk past me!

Walking can help mental health and overcome feelings of anxiety and creates a feeling of being with nature in a natural environment. It is useful to see what is around you and listen more and notice more than you normally do.

Most people have parks, woodland or green spaces near them which will have a positive effect. Go on, give it a go.

Tips:
Look on local maps and explore local green spaces
Walk for at least half an hour
Don’t look at your phone
Enjoy the peace and quiet
Submerge yourself in your surroundings – Be mindful, visually and be aware of the audible range

Back to Blogging…

Sorry, it has been so long! I’ve been meaning to return for some time. Obviously, with all that is going on in the world, now is a good time to blog.

Deciding what to write isn’t as complicated as you would envisage. Focusing on what you can do rather than what you can’t, is my intention. We are, at the very least, social distancing or even self-isolating. Or, as I am, somewhere in between.

Topics will be the usual MISHMASH. The content will be suggesting and exploring ideas rather than telling you what you should be doing! The aim is to be as helpful as possible, in these troubling times.

As the whole business, is so worrying at present, I aim to inform, entertain and maintain wellbeing. The content will be researched, informative but also just fun.
Here are some topic which I will be investigating:

Health, Fitness, and Wellbeing
Gardening
Cooking and Food Shopping
Podcasts
Books/reading
Social Media, online education and virtual tours/life
Photography, films, telly, etc.

Hopefully, my new chatty approach will be interesting and if you’ve any ideas let everyone know in the comments.

Progress, lunch recipe and why go low carb?

Progress

Yes, I’ve devised another recipe using canned lentils. Progress with my health and fitness plan has been good. About 3kg loss and 2kg is body fat, so I’m quite pleased with the progress.

As I’m going away to Maastricht for a few days soon, I’m trying to be very good. We are going away with the offspring and the other half’s and will probably consume many meals out. On the plus side, usually walk everywhere and a bike ride has also been suggested. Hopefully, this will help and it will be enormous fun.

Even on holiday, it will be possible to not go completely off the rails and to be honest, I feel so much better at the moment, and more energised too. Really hoping to keep this up.

Why low-carb?

While the food plan I’m implementing is low fat, it is not my main concern. Sugar is. Low fat products tend to have sugar in them so apart from a little low fat cheese, they are best avoided.
Studies now indicate natural fats are fine. With the low carb plan, you decrease sugar and starches so your blood sugar stabilizes and levels of fat storing hormone insulin drop. Also, find you are satiated, thus lessening the need to eat and causing weight loss.

Lentil Stew Recipe

The latest recipe is filling and healthy. The lentils are from a can and very quick to prepare. I dry fried an onion, paprika, herbs, ground pepper with a pint of vegetable stock and then poured in the lentils. Pop a lid on and let it simmer for half an hour (at least) to become fairly solid.

I prepared some roasted veggies including sweet potato chips and just for a change, cauliflower. When the veg is nearly cooked pop in some cherry tomatoes and sliced mushrooms. Makes a good, wholesome meal. You can freeze the leftover lentils.

Lentils,

Onion (half at most)

Paprika, herbs, ground pepper

Veg stock (1 pint)

Initially, I made the mistake of using a whole onion, but this recipe is better with just half an onion.

Also, I’m not nutritionally trained, but enjoy reading about health and am just blogging about my experiences. I’m thinking of doing a course on nutrition soon.

Thank you for reading my blog and I welcome any comments, likes and follows.

 

 

 

Source:

https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb